William E. “Bill” Willenbaker, 90, of North Port, Fla., journeyed to Heaven, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, after a long and beautiful life.
He was born Sept. 29, 1923, in Oyster Bay, Long Island, N.Y., to Katherine (nee Pevak) and William Willenbaker.
A Veteran of World War II with service in Africa, England, France and Germany, he retired from the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer, Grade 3. William retired from Western Electric after 33 years of service. Bill was a graduate of Ellenville High School in Ellenville, N.Y., and Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. William and his wife Bernice made their home in West Albany, N.Y., then they relocated to Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Valatie, N.Y., and finally retired to North Port.
Bill was an avid reader, R/C plane and helicopter flier (Member of the R/C Fliers of Venice, Fla.), camper, fisherman, sailor, amateur radio operator (Member of Army MARS, Former Florida Assistant State Director), sports fan and artistic painter (Member of the North Port Art Center). He was also a lifetime member of the American Legion. Bill possessed a fine sense of adventure and good humor. He was a man of great faith, kind and generous, and lived a good life, sharing his faith by example. Bill was an excellent father, best friend and hero to his family.
William is survived by daughters, Kathryn (Ben) Lanza and Roberta (Ron) Reamer; son, Edward (Deanna Putnam) Willenbaker; grandchildren, Amalia (Jeremy English), Natalie, Benjamin, Emily (Bill) Janitz, Michael (Mikhael) Reamer and Anna; and great-grandchildren, Jacob, Abigail and Gabriel. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Bernice Laverne Rate of East Schodack, N.Y.; and his brother, Robert of Ellenville.
The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at Farley Funeral Home, North Port Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at San Pedro Catholic Church in North Port, with cremation to follow. Inurnment will be in New York at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations may be made to www.woundedwarriorproject.org. To share a memory, visit www.farleyfuneralhome.com.